Indreshwar Mahadev Temple-Hindu temple in Panauti

Panauti’s most famous temple is set in a vast courtyard full of statuary in the middle of the isthmus between the two rivers. Topped by a three-storey pagoda roof, the temple is a magnificent piece of Newari architecture. The first temple here was founded in 1294 but the shrine was rebuilt in its present form in the 15th century. The lingam enshrined here is said to have been created personally by Shiva.

The woodcarvings on the temple’s windows, doorways and roof struts are particularly fine, and the erotic carvings here are subtle and romantic rather than pornographic.

To the south of the main temple is the rectangular Unamanta Bhairab Temple, with three faces peering out of the upstairs windows. Located within is a statue of Bhairab, accompanied by goddesses. A small, double-roofed Shiva temple stands in one corner of the courtyard, and a second shrine containing a huge black image of Vishnu as Narayan faces the temple from the west.

Inside the temple compound is also the Panauti Museum, an interesting collection of artefacts from the region, and original sections from the Indreshwar Mahadev Temple.

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